NOAA concerned with dolphin deaths in Southwest Florida

A major agency is concerned with dolphins being stranded and dying on the shores of Southwest Florida. Since July 2018, experts say almost 200 dolphins have died due to presence of red tide in our waters.

NOAA is calling it an unusual mortality event, which is a significant die-off that is unexpected and demands an immediate response.

“I think it’s absolutely horrific,” Victor Collins said “And I’m devastated by that because dolphins are a beautiful creature.”

NOAA said from 2005 to 2006 about 190 dolphins died from exposure to the red tide toxins. Neighbors says the red tide last year was the worst they have seen and are crossing their fingers this year is different.

“The dolphins, they were just laying there,” Kaitlyn Schmidt said. “And there was a bunch of them, and it was all really, really sad. And they were lifeless. It was awful.”

NOAA has attributed the problem to red tide, but Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the toxic algae is few in number and not very widespread.  

Red tide maps as of May 24, 2019. Credit: WINK News.

NOAA said the best thing we can all do to help is report any sighting of dead or washed ashore dolphins. To report a sighting, call 877-WHALE-HELP or 1-888-97-WHALE (94253).

The agencies warn don’t approach, touch them or push them back into the water.

MORE: Red tide the suspected killer in a recent spike in dead dolphins

Reporter:Hannah Vogel
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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